Do your students Fear Fractions? Do you use commercial Fraction Mats To Teach Fractions? Well here’s why you should STOP using them! Find out how commercial Fraction Mats are confusing your students!
There are so many resources and hands-on manipulatives to help students learn fractions, but do you find that your students still ‘don’t get it’, even when using ‘Hands-On’ teaching aids?
Watch our Fraction Mat Video For links to the Curriculum
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Using Hands-On-Materials To Teach Fractions
When your students still ‘don’t get it’ even after using ‘Hands -on’ materials, there’s a really good explanation and it’s not always because they’re not paying attention! If you find your students struggling with fractions then the chances are that there are gaps in their understandings which came about through the premature use of commercial Fraction Tiles.
Fraction Tile Packs are great resources, but if they are used before students have had the chance to explore, play and learn for themselves about fractions, then all they do is scaffold student understanding. This type of learning can cause gaps and misunderstandings for your students because they did not construct the understanding for themselves. (This is why we use popsticks before MAB for Place Value). In short they don’t own their learning, which means they don’t get it …YET!
To understand how fractions work, in fact how anything works, we need to construct our own understanding, math rotations are a great way to facilitate this. Guided math groups gives your students more time and the opportunity to delve deeper, just think about how you prepare to teach a lesson on a new concept yourself, or how you learn how to use the latest gizmo…?
So before you go rushing to the store cupboard to get those fraction tiles out, let your students make their own ‘hands-on’ materials! Let them create their own fraction mats or models using paper strips, circles, squares and play dough… By going through this process of making, building and constructing your students are not just making something physical, they are actually constructing their understanding… and quite literally OWNING it!
Computational Thinking & Fractions
Being hands-on in the construction process of fraction manipulatives makes us test our knowledge of how something works, makes us use our computational thinking and problem solving skills.
If we set the task of making our own Fraction Mat then our brain becomes very active and questions start popping into our head… These questions illicit computational thinking which guide us through a problem solving process…
“What have I got to do?”
– Understand the problem
– Decomposition: Breaking a problem down
– Logic: predicting and analysing.
“How can I do it?”
– Devise a plan
– Abstraction: Taking out unnecessary information
– Tinkering: Experimenting & playing
“Is this going to work?”
– Carry out the plan, review steps 1 & 2 & persevere
– Pattern & recognition: Spotting similarities & patterns
– Algorithm Design: a list of steps to follow
– Debugging: finding & fixing errors – Persevering
“Is this right?”
– Check & Reflect
But if we go straight to using commercial materials then this process can be quite different and even missed out! Causing kids to say “I don’t get it!”
Using Thinkboards To Teach Fractions
Now don’t misunderstand us, we love using manipulatives in the classroom and fraction mats, but only after the students have constructed their understanding. So you’re probably wondering “How Should I Do This in My Classroom?…
Have you ever used a Think board? This is probably our all time favourite Resource.
This is an awesome tool that can be used in so many ways. Using it will give students the opportunity to construct and OWN their understandings, in just about ANY concept! We love this resource so much we wanted to share it with you and to save you time, we have put together ONE version and attached it as a FREE download for you! Just one condition… please share it with your Teacher friends!
Use this FREEBIE to help your students understand how to “Read, Write, Recognise, Model, Order, Solve & Work Mathematically” (ACARA)
FREE Fraction Thinkboard Download
We made a B & W version so you can use it in students books as a pre/post assessment activity and also a colour version that you can laminate & reuse for warm-ups. We’ve even put together an instruction sheet with ideas of what to do in each section and we even included some of our favourite Pinterest ideas as well!